– Gov. Fashola declares May 27 Lagos Day; rewards airport cleaner, Josephine Ugwu, three others with Governor’s Award
It was a night of recognition and celebration of hard work, dedication and diligence in service to humanity as the Citizens’ Day Awards 2015 took centre stage on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, at the prestigious Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The awards is to recognize and honour Lagosians who embody the core values of the Spirit of Lagos in their everyday lives, that is the value of civic responsibility, good citizenship, good neigbourliness and social justice.
Men and women who have and are still doing extraordinary work in their communities, businesses and public service, who have gone above and beyond the call of duty without expecting reward or clamour for spotlight were celebrated with medals of honour and certificates on the night.
The event was anchored by comedy king, Ali Baba alongside comedienne, Helen Paul who both thrilled as the passion-driven now-erstwhile governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), was present to oversee the event which is part of the Spirit of Lagos project.
He noted that building physical infrastructure was important, even more so is building what he called the infrastructure of the mind in achieving the Lagos of our dreams, hence the Spirit of Lagos project.
The well-loved two-time governor also unveiled the Citizens’ Day Awards Wall of Fame with the names of all awardees.
One of the highlights of the evening was when Mr. Fashola announced the awardees for the governor’s award. Ms Josephine Ugwu, the honest Lagos airport cleaner who returned the equivalent of N12 million in foreign currencies to its owner, was the first awardee. Three other outstanding and exemplary individuals, Mrs. Laja Adedoyin (founder, Heart of Gold Hospice); Engr. Vitali Adigwe Nwaneifo (who volunteered to help accident victims after losing his arm to accident) and Lanre Adio (who, according to the governor, stood his ground and maintained the law against a commercial bus driver who was driving against traffic seven years ago), were also rewarded.
He also signed a declaration of May 27 (which is the day Lagos State was created in 1967) as Lagos Day.
Another highlight of the evening was a stage play performed by the Lagos State Council of Arts and Culture troupe. It was entitled the Spirit of Lagos. It was centred on the uncommon statesmanship displayed by the Eleko of Eko in the 1920s after he was exiled by the colonialists over his refusal to compel his people to pay water tax. It drew the applause and ovation of all guests.
Awardees speak on recognition; express gratitude and joy.
It was an unforgettable night for the awardees who were clearly buoyed by the recognition, they could not hide their joy as they spoke to ENCOMIUM Weekly…
Mr. Ganiyu Isaiah Aliu, won Rising Star Award
Mr. Aliu has worked in the health and safety division of LAWMA since 2013, contributing significantly to the drastic reduction in health hazards and accidents recorded by highway operational staff…
How do you feel winning this award?
I feel very happy. This is God’s work. I have been labouring to ensure the safety of lives and properties. Accidents have been reduced. We are going to build on this to ensure safety all over Lagos metropolis.
Mr. Muideen Olusegun Bisiriyi, recipient of the Exemplary Conduct Award
He joined the Ministry of Education in 1984 and has risen to the position of Director of Education. He is noted for institutionalizing a programme for appreciating hardworking and diligent staff and students yearly…
How does it feel winning this award?
I feel very happy and I thank God for this award. I promise to continue contributing my own quota to making Lagos the place of our dreams. I would like to add that everyone should be a part of it. I appreciate this award.
What do you think made you win?
I motivate myself in terms of dressing well and arriving early to school. Also, I organize many principal-teachers fora where we talk about areas where we are doing well and areas we could improve. Besides, our school (Oriwu Model College) has won four educational governor’s award and we have had the best junior results for the past three years. I think these contributed to my award.
Mrs. Helen Osunbor, bagged the Role Model Award (lifetime achievement)
She was nominated alongside Samuel Olukunle Ojo and Daniel Abiodun Farinde, but the Vice Principal (Admin.) of Oriwu Senior Model College, Ikorodu, clinched the prize.
She pioneered the tomato plantation and ornamental garden in her school; she has also bagged National Teacher of the Year Award in 2007.
How do you feel today?
I’m elated. I thank God for His love, His favour and mercy for giving me the opportunity to win this award. I give kudos to my amiable principal, Mrs. Ogunniyi A.N., who motivated people to vote for me. Also, I thank my church members at Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries (MFM), they also voted for me.
I appreciate God for the organizers of this award/ it’s a good initiative, and a way of encouraging people to strive to be the best.
Elepete LCDA – Ikorodu West won the Exceptional Community Award
Elepete LCDA generates power for its community through the purchase of a transformer, 50 spans of high-tension cable and low-tension cables.
They are also actively involved in the rehabilitation of their roads. We spoke to the community’s chairman, Pastor Olatoye Okesanya…
How do you feel?
I feel really excited about what God is doing for us in Elepete Community. What we do not expect is what God is doing for us.
What do you think made you win the award?
We paid the price, that is why we won this award. We contributed our efforts to achieve things. We purchased 50 spans of high tension cables to help us generate power for the community. This was achieved through the combined effort of everyone in the community.
How much does this award mean to you?
In fact, it means everything to us.
Mr. Bolajoke Fadipe clinched the Community Development Award for his supply of food in schools with the aim of developing into a food bank.
He is the founder of Food Clique, an initiative that provides intervention meals for over 3,000 Lagosians monthly…
How much does this award mean to you?
It means so much to me because it serves as a motivator to further my efforts in fighting hunger. A lot of people suffer from food insecurity, and we’re not doing enough about it. We need to create awareness about hunger and why we should end it.
What did you do that gave you an edge to win tonight?
We feed the hungry, poor, homeless and needy, and I think their prayers and spirits were behind me and helped me win this award.
Tell us how you feel being a winner.
I feel happy, excited and glad. I give thanks to God Almighty for helping me win this award. Also, thanks to my boss, Hon. Abike Dabiri Erewa.
Mr. Tunji Ola went home with the Role Model Award (lifetime Achievement)
Mr. Ola served as chairman of the Infrastructure committee and chairman of the River Valley Estate, Ojodu, Berger.
Through his leadership, the community has been transformed from an unkempt village environment to an Eldorado with paved streets, drainages, upgraded electrical system and community security.
What drives you in the service of your community?
Whatever I am focused on achieving, I see it till the end. It’s been a privilege actually to be able to serve the community. In all, I have the cooperation of the wonderful team I work with, they make the job much easier.
How does it feel winning this award?
It’s a commendable thing. I think the team that I worked with over the years would be able to attest that we have been able to achieve a lot in our community.
The brains behind the Spirit of Lagos and Citizens’ Day Award project also spoke to us, and they were apparently overjoyed at the success of the evening…
Mr. Olaniyi Omotosho, Project director
What is your assessment of tonight?
We are so glad that people came in response to the meaning of the Spirit of Lagos. To celebrate our heroes who are doing things that nobody knows about. We are so glad that this event happened and people came to be a part of it. We have redefined the meaning of heroism-ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
Would you say tonight captured the values of Spirit of Lagos?
Yes, in essence, it did. The governor’s speech wrapped it up. We are glad it’s one of the last things he did before leaving office. Most times, there’s too much focus on the negative that we forget to appreciate the good things around. We are proud that this has accomplished that.
How much do Lagosians need to embrace the Spirit of Lagos and its values?
Lagos is only as good as we make it. Lagos is our responsibility. Nobody will make it what we want. It’s up to us.
The general counsel to the governor and chairperson, technical sub-committee of the Spirit of Lagos project, Oyinkan Badejo-Okusanya also spoke to us…
Can you capture how you feel?
First, I’m tired, but I’m also ecstatic. Tonight went beautifully as you witnessed. I love the fact that Lagosians answered the call, people appreciated what others have done, and they nominated and voted for them. I’m happy that Lagosians rose to the challenge.
We thought it would be successful, but it surpassed our expectation. I hope that next year would be bigger now that there’s more awareness.
For you, did tonight capture the essence of the Spirit of Lagos?
Absolutely. People came, paid attention. We were enthralled. I believe many people were inspired.
What’s the plan for next year?
We are going to start working straight away. Spirit of Lagos is a campaign, the Citizens’ Day Award is only one aspect of that, I think it’s going to be huge. You heard the governor, May 27 has been declared Lagos Day. We use different platforms to promote the Spirit of Lagos idea.
The next thing coming up is a competition for the design of the award that recipients would get. We wanted to design a little statuette, but the governor said we should throw it open to Lagosians to come up with designs. We hope to get lots of entries.
– MICHAEL NWOKIKE